Jurgen Klopp will be keen to switch the focus back to on-field matters when his Borussia Dortmund side visit Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Dortmund head coach Klopp was immediately installed as one of the favourites to take the vacant managerial position at Premier League outfit Manchester United, who dismissed David Moyes just 10 months into a six-year contract on Tuesday.
However, Klopp was quick to rule himself out of the running, expressing his loyalty to his current employers, with whom he signed a new contract until 2018 earlier this season.
The 46-year-old now prepares to take his side to the BayArena for a fixture that pits two sides who promised much, but have failed to challenge in the Bundesliga this season.
Both Dortmund and Leverkusen were earmarked as potential contenders to Bayern Munich’s recent domestic dominance, yet both failed to produce a consistent fight as Pep Guardiola’s men defended their title in record time.
Dortmund have shown drastic improvement in recent weeks, however, and head to Leverkusen protecting a six-match unbeaten league run, which includes five victories.
Furthermore, Klopp’s charges have guaranteed a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League as they can no longer finish lower than third – which yields automatic entry into the group stages.
Indeed, the club can secure second place should they pick up a point and Schalke – who are third – fail to beat Borussia Monchengladbach, while a win for Dortmund would all but secure a runners-up berth regardless due to a superior goal difference over Jens Keller’s men.
As well as success in the league, Dortmund face a DFB-Pokal final with rivals Bayern Munich, and midfielder Nuri Sahin is hoping for a positive end to the campaign.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “It was important to secure automatic qualification (to the Champions League) as early as possible, and we are happy to have achieved that goal. Now we want to secure second place – and win the cup.”
At one stage this season it appeared as though Leverkusen would be the team to claim second, but a poor run of form curtailed those hopes and saw coach Sami Hyypia lose his job following a 2-1 defeat at strugglers Hamburg.
Sascha Lewandowski – who was joint coach with Hyypia last term before returning to work with the youth team – has subsequently taken the reins on a temporary basis and the team have responded with consecutive wins.
Most recently Leverkusen were 4-1 victors at Nuremberg, and they currently occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.
However, fifth-placed Wolfsburg are just one point adrift with three games remaining and Lewandowski’s men have no room for complacency as the season reaches its climax.
Leverkusen are without suspended full-back Giulio Donati, while Dortmund are without captain Sebastian Kehl who was ruled out for two weeks with a groin injury and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller could once again miss out with a similar problem.
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